It’s an interesting concept that has been pointed out by a few, none of whom however seem to actually have an answer for it, but why do South American players make the best attackers? Over the past few years Europe’s top 5 leagues have been set alight by an influx of South American flair; dazzling skills, blistering pace and stunning goals. The continent has produced an endless amount of talent with the likes of Falcao, Tevez, James, Cavani and Higuain to name a few. So why do they produce so many more than any other continent?
Looking into this a bit deeper, the culture of a country (yes culture) has a massive influence on a nations footballing identity. Take Brazil for example, the samba skills and party atmosphere at games show huge similarities to a Rio Carnival, right? Another would be Germany, efficient and ruthless as a nation and the same on the football pitch. The Italians are passionate, emotional people and well.. you get the idea.
Another reason is their hunger for success. Many of these athletes come from very rural backgrounds and belong to families who struggle to even put food on the table. Everyday can be a fight and even when rich and famous they still display this raw passion to strive to win every ball, every game and every trophy possible.
Good examples of this can be seen by the likes of Luis Suarez and Carlos Tevez. They have what commentators and pundits alike dub a ‘mean streak’ yet looking back to their childhood it’s easy to see why. Used to playing on the street, with older kids kicking lumps out of them the only way to keep up or even get ahead was to be scrappy and underhand. Having watched these individuals in the Premier League, it is the reason they are heavily criticised but also one of the reasons why they are so, so good.
“I once cried because I had no shoes to play football with my friends, but one day I saw a man with no feet and I realised how rich I am.” (Zinedine Zidane)
The biggest example I can think of however is Diego Costa (yes I know but he is actually Brazilian!). Hailed as Chelsea’s missing piece to their title winning puzzle yet blasted on the other hand for his aggression and over competitiveness. It is this however, that makes him and many other South American attackers so bloody brilliant. From humble beginnings he played with his older cousins who used to bully him. “He’s been a fighter since he was born. If he lost, he spent the rest of the day pissed off.” (Diego’s father, Jose) It’s this determination that you see from him still in the Premier League that gives him an edge against English defenders and why he has been so successful thus far.
So with a combination of the continent’s flair, skill and passion in their culture combined with the rural and competitive nature of their upbringings, it’s evident to see why South America produce so many more world-class attacking talents than any other.